Wax On, Wax Off: A Growing Connection Between Surfing and Golf?

Ok, so I almost never use the first person to write about surfing in Wax On, Wax Off. But I also never show up for a round of golf at Half Moon Bay to find that big wave legend Jeff Clark is teeing off right behind me. Jeff is the guy who essentially discovered Maverick's as a surf spot–the heavy, gnarly monster of a wave that once famously and tragically took the life of Mark Foo.



Jeff Clark surfed Mav's by himself for years, never breathing a word of the gargantuan slab to a fellow surfer. He surfed it without tow-in equipment and without the company of other surfers. Do we all understand the kind of dedication and sheer balls that must have taken? Finally, he ended up sharing his treasure with the world, and the spot became the playground of the Santa Cruz boys and a favorite every other big wave afficionado from around the globe.

Now, in his fifties, Jeff owns the modest Maverick's surf shop in the rural coastal town of Half Moon Bay, and he plays golf regularly at the world-renowned Ocean Course adjacent to the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay. In fact, Jeff was the club champion at the course in 2007.

Now, getting back to Southern California…Jeff Clark is far from the only surfer to take up golf. In recent years, the sport has attracted surfers as diverse as Rob Machado, Kelly Slater, Ryan Hurley, and even Andrew Atkinson, the grungy, torn-t-shirt-wearing drummer of Japanese Motors. It's even become a staple way to conduct business, raise funds for charity, and be out in the sun when the surf is flat.

Andrew Atkinson, the last guy you'd expect to don a collared shirt and swing a golf club, played in Southern California last week at the Rob Machado Golf Experience, a big annual fundraising event in the action sports industry. Playing alongside him were a group of dudes from the company New Era. Most famous for their work on major league baseball caps, the company also handles alot of work for the action sports industry–surf, skate, and beyond. “Golf and surfing…hmmmm…they're both outdoors, you can drink beer if you want, hang with your buddies, do business,” says Andrew. “It's surf and turf…you know?”

Apparently this growing connection between a premeir land sport and a leading water sport is everywhere. And teeing off in front of the legendary Jeff Clark while overlooking the fabled (albeit currently flat) Maverick's certainly drives the point home.

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